Lincoln County Master Gardeners celebrated the bounty of their harvest at the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse Garden Sunday as they gathered over sixty pounds of lettuce, turnips, golden beets, radishes, artichokes and zucchini, some of which wound up in a delightful fresh salad served to visitors, much to their munchy delight.
The program began every year as it does, with seed starters crafted by students at Sam Case Elementary school, and then planted at the lighthouse garden in early June. Master Gardener Liz Olsen and her husband Jeff said former gardens at the lighthouse have been going on for years. But this time, they created raised beds with “souped-up” soils that produced a bumper crop of delectable goodies. It is absolutely true that fresh garden vegetables and fruits make being a vegetarian an easy task (if one so chooses, of course!).
Olsen said they’ll be back within a few weeks to harvest more of the output of these high powered vegetable growing boxes, offering up more lettuce but then potatoes, turnips, pole and snap beans, fava beans, more artichokes, small green things that look like tomatoes which make salsa explosively delicious, husk cherries and one-bite-egg plant. And if we’re lucky, another great sampler salad from a part of the harvest!
Then, heading into October, they’ll be back again for more potatoes, snap and pole beans, zucchini and artichokes but then also spinach, pumpkins, squash, endive, more beets, radishes and kale. Olsen says much of it will go to Lincoln County Food Share so that those in need can enjoy the rare pleasure of home-grown vegetables kids and Master Gardeners who really know what they’re doing. There will also be veggy donations made to the Newport Senior Center for seniors to take home in vegetable goody-bags.
Jeff Olsen estimated the cost of building a raised 4′ x 8′ vegetable bed at around $120 complete. He said raised beds produce a lot more food because you can better control soil ingredients, level of watering and ground temperature. Liz Olsen added that more people are taking up home vegetable gardening because they’re retired, have the time, and are returning to a life-basic of great food that’s affordable to grow. She said those who would like to learn all the right stuff, in the right order, can contact the Master Gardener program at 541-574-6537, extension 10 or you can check them out on the web at Extension.OregonState.Edu/Lincoln/Master_Gardeners. And yes it all tastes just like you remember from your grandmother’s garden.
There’s a new wrinkle in the fresh vegetable story here on the coast. The folks who run the Newport Saturday Farmers Market are debuting a WINTER Farmers Market that will kick in when the Summer Market ends at the end of October. The Winter Farmers Market will be held at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Newport inside the Exhibit Hall on Saturdays and will offer winter crops for sale including turnips, beets, radishes, artichokes, potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, chard, broccoli, green onions, and of course squash. The Newport Winter Farmers Market is expected to run from early November through the end of February or early March, right before the Spring/Summer Farmers Market kicks in again. So, twelve months of Farmers Market is about to debut here on the Central Coast.